Matthew 5 has a lot of wisdom in it. Among other things, it tells us that those who are persecuted shall be blessed, we should not murder or even speak or think evil things against others, and we should love and pray for our enemies.
One of the more famous passages is probably this one:
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also." (Matthew 5:38-40 NKJV)
Does all this mean that if someone attacks on us on the street, we should let them do whatever the will to us? I do not believe so.
A slap on the cheek is not the same as, say, a stab wound to the stomach or many other things you may be able to think of. After all, the Bible also says:
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV)
How do we take care of our temple? Well, for one thing, we try to keep ourselves healthy and fit. For another, we prevent dangerous people from destroying the temple.
Additionally, it is said:
Then He [Jesus] said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." (Luke 22:36 NKJV)
Two are better than one, [...] Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9a, 12)
GotQuestons.org also brings up the case of a thief breaking into a house in Exodus 22:2-3. (Another interesting read is Biblical Self-Defense.)
So obviously there are times when we must fight back. King David did. But fighting in anger and with hatred is not the same. We protect our temple and other people and cause as little damage as possible. We still need to love.
(All scripture retrieved from BibleGateway.com, who in turn says: "Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.")
- James D. McIntosh Jr.
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